Just over 24 hours ago, I lost a friend of 10 years. Maria Kastoras, with whom I had worked for 10 years at Thalassaemia Australia (previously Thalassaemia Society of Victoria) passed away just after 11 pm (AEST) on December 25th.
Maria had always been supportive of me through the tougher times in my life (and in times when it was generally much harder for any openly trans person to get work) and I will always have gratitude for that support. In a way she was a pioneering “cis ally” but it was more; she was just an outright good person.
As time went on and I became more settled in myself I felt our connection became more of a 2 way street. We supported each other through life’s issues and tougher times. We shared ideas about advocacy and community building together. We swapped Greek and Hebrew swear words and we laughed with another about the foibles and goings on of numerous communities - say no more. J
I am still feeling much grief and in the phases of shock, disbelief and denial. Maria would have been 45 next month and it doesn’t seem right she has gone. We had planned to do a quieter birthday lunch in January rather than a noisy Xmas lunch; now, not to be.
I knew Maria via Thalassaemia Australia and knew of her huge work for the world-wide Thal community; of course there were many other parts of her life. Her family, friends, soccer club and Greek community were just some of those facets and there will be many people who she touched through her warmth and who will also be feeling the sense of loss. My thoughts are especially with her son Theo and our colleague Sarah Burton.
So thank you Maria K. I don’t know the right words in Greek; thank you for being you and I’ll miss you will have to do for now.